Accountants analyze, organize, and prepare financial records. Some accountants handle the books for private companies, organizations, or government agencies.

Others assist clients on an individual basis, particularly during the January-April tax-filing season. Accounting is a large field, and there are more than 1.3 million accountants and auditors currently employed in the United States.

Most entry-level accountant positions are attainable with a bachelor's degree in accounting, or a degree in business or finance with an accounting concentration. Accounting bachelor's programs cover the federal income tax, managerial cost accounting, and other core areas of the profession, while also reviewing the various laws and ethics that guide professionals in their daily activities.

What are the best accounting programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Colorado State University Greenwood Village, CO
2 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
3 Athens State University Athens, AL
4 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
5 University of Maryland Global Campus College Park, MD
6 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
7 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
8 University of Minnesota - Crookston Crookston, MN
9 Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND
10 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE

Today, many students are choosing to earn their bachelor's in accounting degree online, rather than in a traditional classroom. Web-based programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as brick-and-mortar offerings, and distance education is much more convenient for many students. The asynchronous, or self-paced, format that most online programs use is ideal for students who must balance school work with childcare, work, or any other commitments that make attending class on campus difficult.

Read on to learn more about accounting as an academic discipline and to discover the career opportunities you can look forward to with a bachelor's degree in the field.

The Best Online Accounting Programs of 2019

Choosing a program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online accounting programs in the United States. If you want to become an accountant, and you value the opportunity to pursue your degree online, read on to learn more about the top online accounting programs in the country.

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Pamlico Community College

Grantsboro, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

PCC, located in Grantsboro, North Carolina, enrolls approximately 500 students each year. The two-year institution offers a selection of degrees, certificates, and programs designed for academic pursuits, continuing education, and life enrichment. Enrollment options include an online accounting certificate and diploma.

Requiring 14 and 37 credits, respectively, PCC's accounting certificate and diploma programs introduce students to principles of financial and managerial accounting, federal income taxes, and business law. Graduates can find work as accounting clerks, tax preparers, or small business owners. Additional education and training can lead to employment as a CPA, staff accountant, or auditor.

PCC offers a low student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1. Certificate and diploma applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Certificate; Accounting Diploma
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 14 credits (certificate); 37 credits (diploma)
Program Length: 2 semesters (certificate)

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Contact

Phone: (252) 249-1851 x3009
Email: tkennedy@pamlicocc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

Stanly Community College

Albemarle, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

SCC, located in Albemarle, North Carolina, provides dozens of one- and two-year educational opportunities designed to lead to employment or university transfer. Online study options are available in a variety of disciplines. For accounting professionals, SCC offers both an online certificate and online diploma.

Requiring 18 and 39 credits, respectively, these credentials prepare graduates for entry-level employment in the accounting profession. Asynchronous coursework covers fundamental accounting concepts, a survey of the business world, and principles of management. Free online tutoring and academic support is available 24/7 through Smarthinking.

Applicants must submit an official copy of their high school transcript. Placement testing may be required. Newly admitted students must complete either an online or on-campus orientation.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Certificate; Accounting Diploma
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 18 credits (certificate); 39 credits (diploma)
Program Length: 8-12 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (704) 982-0121
Email: webmaster@stanly.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Central Carolina Community College

Sanford, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

CCCC encompasses more than a dozen locations in three North Carolina counties. Students who cannot attend classes in person can take advantage of CCCC's distance learning options. More than 300 flexible career training programs are available through a partnership with online education provider, ed2go.

The certified bookkeeper training program comprises 140 credits of course content, covering concepts like payroll, inventory, internal controls, and bank reconciliation. These courses do not provide college credit. However, graduates receive a certificate of completion from CCCC and are prepared to sit for the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) certification exam.

This open-enrollment program caters to experienced bookkeepers. AIPB certification requires at least two years of full-time experience or 3,000 hours of part-time experience.


Program Overview

Program Name: Certified Bookkeeper
School Status: Public
Tuition: $1,950/program
Program Length: 6 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Contact

Phone: (919) 545-8033
Email: ed2go@cccc.edu
Social Media Account: Twitter

4

Lenoir Community College

Kinston, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 19%

LCC works to meet the personal, cultural, and professional needs of more than 2,500 students each year. In addition to nine on-ground locations, the North Carolina institution also offers online, hybrid, and web-assisted courses. Forty percent of LCC's student population is enrolled exclusively in distance education.

The college's online accounting essential certificate requires completion of 14 credits. Four asynchronous courses provide foundational knowledge of financial accounting, managerial accounting, macroeconomics, and federal income taxes. LCC also offers career planning services, library resources, and online tutoring.

An open-door admissions policy welcomes all eligible high school graduates at least 18 years of age. The college does not require placement testing unless an accepted student is found eligible for a waiver through prior education or test scores.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Essential Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $75/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 14 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (252) 527-6223
Email: lhdeaver55@lenoircc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Southwestern Community College

Sylva, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

SCC, located in Sylvia, North Carolina, offers more than 70 academic programs in the arts and sciences, career technologies, and health sciences. Many of these certificates and degrees allow for online completion, including the school's certificate in accounting and finance.

Students can pursue either a general accounting and finance certificate or focus their studies on bookkeeping, payroll accounting, or tax accounting. Depending on selection, 16-18 credits are required. Courses provide introductory study of relevant accounting principles, software applications, and computer operation. Career, library, and tutoring services are available.

SCC practices open admission. Applicants must verify high school graduation or the equivalent. Upon admission to a program, students must provide either ACT or SAT scores or complete a college placement test.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting and Finance Certificate
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Bookkeeping; payroll; tax
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 16-18 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Contact

Phone: (828) 339-4616
Email: s_lauffer@southwesterncc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Surry Community College

Dobson, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 30%

SCC, located in Dobson, North Carolina, strives to promote personal growth and community development through its academic programs and services. The college enrolls 3,000 students each year. Eight degrees and six certificates, including one in accounting and finance, offer fully online completion options.

This one-year, 17-credit certificate provides fundamental knowledge and skills to help graduates qualify for entry-level accounting positions in multiple industries and organizations. Required courses include principles of financial accounting, introduction to business, and business law I. Online courses utilize asynchronous delivery for maximum flexibility.

SCC's open-door policy welcomes all U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years old. The college requires a high school credential for admission into the accounting and finance program.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting and Finance Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 17 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (336) 386-3363
Email: worleyc@surry.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

By enrollment, SNHU is one of the largest institutions of higher education in the country. More than 100,000 learners pursue certificates and degrees at SNHU every year, 93% of whom exclusively attend distance learning courses. Among its extensive online options is an 18-credit certificate in accounting.

Designed to prepare graduates for entry-level employment, the certificate requires study of financial, managerial, and intermediate accounting principles. SNHU's online courses feature asynchronous and flexible formats, allowing students to access material at their convenience. Services include an online library, writing center, tutoring, and career counseling.

Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis. All students pay the same tuition rates regardless of state residency, with discounts available to U.S. service members.


Program Overview

Program Name: Certificate in Accounting
School Status: Private
Tuition: $320/credit
Credit Requirements: 18 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (603) 645-9611
Email: admission@snhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Wayne Community College

Goldsboro, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 26%

Located on a 175-acre campus in Goldsboro, North Carolina, WCC serves approximately 3,200 students each year. The college catalog boasts more than 140 degree, diploma, certificate, and continuing education programs, including both a certificate and diploma in accounting and finance.

Totalling 17 and 37 credits, respectively, the certificate and diploma both require completion of courses in financial accounting principles, spreadsheets, and introductory business concepts. Course delivery is asynchronous, and completion is possible in 2-3 semesters. All WCC students receive access to appointment-based online tutoring services offered by the academic skills center.

Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or equivalent. To better determine individual course needs, WCC requires placement testing in English, mathematics, reading, and computer skills.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting and Finance Diploma; Accounting and Finance/Bookkeeping Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 37 credits (diploma); 17 credits (certificate)
Program Length: 3 semesters (diploma); 2 semesters (certificate)

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (919) 739-6875
Email: lmcox@waynecc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Craven Community College

New Bern, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

CCC, located in New Bern, North Carolina, serves 3,200 students each year. More than 30 programs offer online completion options. For professionals interested in general, payroll, or small business accounting, CCC offers two short-term training options: a certificate and diploma.

The programs require 16-18 credits and 39 credits, respectively, covering concepts in business law, accounting software, and North Carolina business taxes. While full-time learners can complete the certificate in three semesters or less, online course offerings vary by semester depending on student enrollment and instructor availability. Distance learners receive access to a writing lab and tutoring services.

CCC practices an open-door admissions policy, accepting all eligible students who are at least 18 years old and hold a high school diploma or equivalent.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Diploma; Certificate in Accounting (Payroll Accounting or Small Business)
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 39 credits (diploma); 16-18 credits (certificate)
Program Length: 3 semesters (diploma)

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Contact

Phone: (252) 638-7212
Email: admissions@cravencc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

The University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers programs specifically designed to meet the needs of nontraditional learners. The school utilizes six campus locations throughout Virginia and flexible online delivery methods. A part-time, online certificate in accounting is ideal for mid-level professionals looking to advance their careers.

On average, students complete the 30-credit certificate in 20 months. Coursework covers introductory and intermediate accounting, introductory auditing, and elective topics in forensic accounting, fraud examination, and federal taxation. The college offers three start dates each year in August, January, and May.

Learners need a high school diploma to apply. While the program fulfills accounting course requirements for CPA certification, an additional undergraduate degree is required to sit for the examination.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $442/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 20 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Contact

Phone: (800) 346-3882
Email: scpsinquiry@virginia.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Gaston College

Dallas, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 31%

The program catalog at Gaston College boasts 60 degrees, 26 diplomas, and 87 certificates, many of which students can complete at a distance. Although Gaston does not offer a standalone online accounting option, the online diploma in office administration-office finance prepares graduates for entry-level employment opportunities.

Students can complete the 44-credit program in as little as three semesters of full-time study. The curriculum requires study of financial accounting, keyboarding, finance solutions, and records management. A final office administration capstone emphasizes written and oral communication skills, office procedures, and professional development.

A high school diploma is required to enroll. Placement testing may also be required. If desired, graduates can apply their diploma credits to an associate degree in office administration.


Program Overview

Program Name: Office Administration - Office Finance Diploma
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 44 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (704) 922-6200
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

William Rainey Harper College

Palatine, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

More than 35,000 students enroll at Harper each year, pursuing associate degrees, certification programs, career and workforce training, and professional development. Online programs allow Harper to serve students far beyond its campus in Palatine, Illinois. Two options include an accounting/bookkeeper clerk certificate and a CPA preparation certificate.

The 8-credit accounting/bookkeeper clerk certificate prepares graduates for entry-level employment opportunities and is stackable to Harper's associate of applied science in accounting. The 30-credit CPA preparation certificate caters to working professionals who want to transition to an accounting career.

An open-enrollment policy welcomes all students with a high school diploma or equivalent. Since the program helps graduates qualify for the CPA exam, applicants to the CPA preparation certificate should possess a bachelor's degree.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Bookkeeper/Clerk Certificate; Professional Accounting-CPA Preparation Certification
School Status: Public
Tuition: $133-$390/credit in-state; $466/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 8 credits (bookkeeper); 30 credits (CPA)

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (847) 925-6700
Email: Contact Form
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Trinity Valley Community College

Athens, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 76%

Of the 4,200 students enrolled at TVCC, nearly 40% are enrolled exclusively in distance education courses. For these distance learners, the Athens, Texas institution offers both academic and workforce education programs, including an online certificate in accounting.

The certificate requires 41-42 credits and can be completed in less than two years. An interdisciplinary curriculum provides students with skills in accounting, business law and principles, and financial advising. Electives offer the opportunity to learn field-specific skills in human resource management, organizational behavior, or office management.

Full admission to TVCC requires submission of a high school or GED diploma. Distance learners are encouraged to apply as early as possible before their intended registration period, due to the time involved in communicating with academic advisors through email.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $166-$242/credit in-state; $499/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 41-42 credits
Program Length: Less than 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (903) 675-6217
Email: onlineprograms@tvcc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

CCU is a private, interdenominational college that serves 8,500 students hailing from every U.S. state. Undergraduate learners can pursue more than 80 degree and certificate options online, including a 12-credit certificate in accounting.

Two required courses provide fundamental financial accounting skills, and two electives allow for field-specific study in government/nonprofit accounting, tax accounting, or management accounting. The certificate can be obtained as a standalone program or as a supplement to one of CCU's online bachelor's degrees in accounting and business. CCU's online courses offer asynchronous formats.

Applicants must provide proof of high school completion. All online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Additionally, CCU offers undergraduates a locked-in rate for up to six years.


Program Overview

Program Name: Certificate in Accounting
School Status: Private nonprofit
Tuition: $469/credit
Credit Requirements: 12 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (303) 963-3311
Email: Contact Form
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

Kaskaskia College

Centralia, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 32%

KC, located in Centralia, Illinois, enrolls more than 7,000 students each year. Its academic catalog boasts 53 associate degrees and 103 certificate programs. Fourteen of these academic options offer online completion, including a 32-credit career and technical certificate in accounting.

The three-semester curriculum comprises 10 courses, including business mathematics, English composition, and accounting principles. Graduates can pursue careers in general accounting, purchasing, inventory control, and tax assisting. Asynchronous delivery maximizes scheduling flexibility for busy students.

A high school diploma or the equivalent is required to enroll in KC's accounting certificate program. To help determine readiness for college-level work, KC requires either placement testing or submission of ACT or SAT scores. All online learners pay the in-district tuition rate regardless of residency.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $152/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (618) 545-3040
Email: kcadmissions@kaskaskia.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Trident Technical College

Charleston, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 14%

In addition to on-campus offerings, TTC boasts fully online options in business technology, criminal justice, and homeland security. Individuals seeking a flexible, short-term pathway to an entry-level accounting career can pursue an applied science certificate in bookkeeping, professional accountancy, or tax preparer.

Depending on program selection, students must successfully complete 18-27 credits to graduate. Required courses vary, as each certificate aims to prepare learners for specific professional environments and positions. A few of TTC's undergraduate accounting courses include individual tax procedures, organizational accounting, and computerized accounting.

TTC's online college utilizes asynchronous delivery, allowing students to access class material 24/7. Certificate applicants must provide proof of high school graduation or the equivalent. Math and English placement testing is required, unless eligible for a waiver.


Program Overview

Program Name: Certificate in Applied Science in Bookkeeping, Professional Accountancy, or Tax Preparer
School Status: Public
Tuition: $189-$209/credit in-state; $357/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 18-27 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (843) 574-6111
Email: admissions@tridenttech.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Piedmont Community College

Roxboro, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 37%

PCC enrolls more than 1,000 students each year across two main campuses in Roxboro and Yanceyville, North Carolina. Approximately half of all students are enrolled in at least one distance education course, with 19% taking classes exclusively online. Among its distance offerings include two short-term programs in accounting and finance.

The 18-credit certificate and 44-credit diploma help graduates qualify for entry-level accounting positions in small businesses, hospitals, banks, and school systems. Based on the same curriculum as PCC's associate in applied science, the certificate and diploma both require study of financial and managerial accounting principles, income tax, and accounting software.

To qualify for enrollment, applicants must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. PCC requires placement testing.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting and Finance Diploma; Accounting and Finance Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 44 credits (diploma); 18 credits (certificate)

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (336) 322-2180
Email: mark.wencel@piedmontcc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

Wake Technical Community College

Raleigh, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 18%

WTCC offers associate degrees, certificates, diplomas, and continuing education opportunities at eleven campuses and centers across North Carolina. The school's academic reach is further expanded through eLearning technology, which makes dozens of programs and hundreds of courses available at a distance.

The 36-credit accounting diploma can be completed in three semesters of online or on-campus enrollment. Courses require study of accounting principles, business math, and writing and inquiry. Four credits of electives allow for customization according to personal interests and professional goals.

Prospective students must hold a high school diploma. Graduates are prepared to pursue several entry-level accounting positions. If desired, this credential can also be stacked and applied to WTCC's associate of applied science in accounting.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Diploma
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (919) 866-5420
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Houston Community College

Houston, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 20%

HCC is an open-admission, public institution with 20 locations serving upwards of 57,000 students throughout the Houston metro area. For distance learners, HCC offers dozens of programs in more than 80 subject areas, including two accounting workforce certificates.

HCC's 36-credit accounting certificate level 1 prepares graduates for paraprofessional careers in accounting firms. The school's 12-credit enhanced skills certificate focuses on the roles and responsibilities of forensic accountants and fraud examiners. Both programs utilize a hybrid format, requiring a combination of online and in-person classes.

The college requires a high school diploma for admission to the accounting certificate level 1 program. Prospective students of the enhanced skills certificate option must hold either an associate or bachelor's degree in accounting.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Certificate Level 1; Forensic Accounting & Fraud Examination Enhanced Skills Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $33-$121/credit in-state; $151/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits (accounting certificate level 1); 12 credits (enhanced skills certificate)
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery

Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (713) 718-2000
Email: student.info@hccs.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Granite Falls, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 46%

Students at MWCTC can pursue undergraduate degrees and credentials in more than 60 fields of study. In addition to five campuses across the state, MWCTC offers numerous distance education options. Aspiring accounting professionals can earn an accounting certificate, accountant clerk diploma, or accountant diploma entirely online.

Each program takes 1-2 years to complete and requires 16 credits, 32 credits, and 64 credits, respectively. Courses in the certificate program cover foundational concepts, while the diploma options provide more advanced study of accounting, business, and computer applications. Accountant diploma students can complete an internship, if desired.

Prospective students must submit a copy of their high school transcript or GED record. The college requires placement testing for all new students, with waivers available depending on prior education and testing.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Certificate; Accountant Clerk Diploma; Accountant Diploma
School Status: Public
Tuition: $189/credit
Credit Requirements: 16 credits (certificate); 64 credits (accountant diploma); 32 credits (accountant clerk diploma)
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (800) 658-2330
Email: Contact Form
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

Community Care College

Tulsa, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 68%

CCC is a private, nonprofit career college located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The school offers a small selection of occupation-focused programs to prepare graduates for entry into the workforce. More than half of all students enrolled at CCC study exclusively online.

In as little as 9.5 months, CCC students can earn an accounting assistant diploma designed to prepare them for diverse job requirements in large accounting departments and small businesses. The asynchronous curriculum combines study of critical accounting and business concepts with hands-on QuickBooks and Excel training. Instructors are available by phone, email, text, chat, and video conference.

Applicants should possess a high school diploma or equivalent. CCC also accepts concurrent enrollment from current high school juniors or seniors with a 3.0 GPA or higher.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Assistant Diploma
School Status: Private nonprofit
Program Length: 9.5 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (917) 610-0027
Email: Contact Form
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

Central New Mexico Community College

Albuquerque, NM Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 27%

With a student population greater than 22,000, Central New Mexico Community College is the largest community college in the state. Students can earn a 42-credit accounting certificate through a combination of online courses and in-person classes at CNM's main campus and Montoya campus in Albuquerque.

Required courses include business professionalism, principles of accounting, and fundamentals of information literacy and systems. If desired, students can complete a 135-hour internship. Graduates of the accounting certificate program are prepared to pursue industry credentials as a certified bookkeeper and certified public bookkeeper.

Prospective students must demonstrate appropriate math, reading, and writing skills through placement testing, ACT/SAT scores, or high school transcripts. The program offers completion times as brief as three semesters, with start dates available in the fall, spring, and summer.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $660/semester in-state; $3,552/semester out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 42 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters

Delivery

Format: Hybrid

Contact

Phone: (505) 224-3000
Email: contactcenter@cnm.edu

23

Thomas Edison State University

Trenton, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

Thomas Edison State University is one of the few schools in the nation designed specifically for adult learners. The school offers extensive flexible learning options for undergraduate and graduate students, including online courses, prior learning assessment, and credit-bearing exams. One of its many online options is an undergraduate certificate in accounting.

This 18-credit program provides foundational knowledge of the accounting field. Courses cover principles of financial, managerial, tax, and cost accounting. Graduates can pursue immediate workforce entry or easily transfer their credits toward the accounting bachelor's degree at TESU.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. Admission is limited to individuals 20 years of age or older, or active military service members 18 years or older.


Program Overview

Program Name: Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting
School Status: Public
Tuition: $399/credit in-state; $509/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 18 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (609) 777-5680
Email: admissions@tesu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Vance-Granville Community College

Henderson, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

Encompassing four campuses in four North Carolina counties, Vance-Granville Community College offers more than 40 degree, diploma, and certificate programs. To better serve the diverse scheduling needs of students, VGCC offers day, night, and distance courses. A 13-credit certificate in accounting can be completed entirely online.

During the program, students take four required courses: principles of financial accounting, principles of managerial accounting, federal income taxes, and payroll accounting. VGCC's asynchronous delivery format makes class material available 24/7. Graduates possess the knowledge and skills required for entry-level employment in the accounting field.

Unless an applicant has earned an associate degree or higher, VGCC requires submission of high school transcripts. Placement testing may be required. New students must attend a two-hour on-campus orientation.


Program Overview

Program Name: Sole Proprietorship Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 13 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (252) 738-3295
Email: farmerd@vgcc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

North Arkansas College

Harrison, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 31%

Northark is a public, two-year institution serving approximately 1,800 students each year. Half of all Northark students enroll in at least one distance education course. Eleven programs can be completed entirely online, including a 30-credit certificate in accounting.

In addition to study of accounting principles and financial mathematics, courses cover introductory concepts in business and information technology. With full-time completion possible in as little as one year, graduates are prepared to work for both small businesses and large companies. The certificate can also be applied to Northark's associate of applied science in business administration.

Admission requires submission of official high school transcripts or GED scores. Placement testing and proof of immunizations is required.


Program Overview

Program Name: Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $74-$99/credit in-state; $124-$169/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (870) 391-3225
Email: ckeymer@northark.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

WHAT IS THE BEST ONLINE UNIVERSITY FOR AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE?

BestColleges.com ranks Touro University Worldwide at number one for best online accounting programs, but each school is different. Students should make sure that their prospective school will help them succeed and meet their goals. Read more here..

HOW MUCH DO ACCOUNTANTS MAKE WITH A BACHELOR'S DEGREE?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that in 2016, accountants and auditors made a median annual salary of $68,150. Read more here..

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING?

Most bachelor's programs take about four years to complete, but some schools offer their online accounting degree in an accelerated format, which allows students to earn their degree quicker. Read more here..

HOW DO I GET AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE ONLINE?

After gaining admittance, students must complete all curriculum requirements, which may include a capstone project or internship. Requirements will vary between program, so studen`ts should check with their prospective schools for more details. Read more here..

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE?

Graduates with a bachelor's in accounting are prepared for many positions, including certified public accountant, staff accountant, and financial controller. Read more here..

Choosing a Program

WILL AN ONLINE ACCOUNTING DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

An online accounting program will cover fundamental accounting principles, including cost management and analysis, taxation, accounting information systems, auditing, financial management, and income tax preparation. Students who graduate with a bachelor's in accounting will be prepared for most entry-level jobs in the industry. Keep in mind, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all practicing accountants to obtain a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. The best online accounting degree programs prepare students for the state-issued CPA exam and other post-college requirements.

WILL AN ONLINE ACCOUNTING DEGREE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online bachelor's in accounting programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional learning. Students can download course readings and lectures, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. Current technology also allows them to study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other devices with Wi-Fi capabilities. Many online programs are taught in an accelerated format, allowing distance learners to complete all required courses in just two or three years.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING?

Students who graduate with a bachelor's in accounting and meet all of their state's CPA requirements will be ready to enter the job market. Many pursue careers as general public accountants, serving a range of individual and organizational clients. Graduates with a strong background in business and finance may lean toward management accounting, while those with a keen eye and proficient analytical skills may choose to become auditors.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Accounting Program?

All online accounting degrees help students become more skilled and precise financial experts, but these programs are not created equal. Online accounting programs can vary in the style of instruction, curriculum requirements, course scheduling, cost, completion time, and degree specialization offerings.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ACCOUNTING

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Managerial Accounting A concentration in managerial accounting focuses on corporate accounting topics, such as pensions, taxes, and income. Students learn about accounting errors and issues as well as managing large cash flows. Business accountant, managerial accountant
Tax Accountancy Tax accounting focuses on paying taxes. Specializing in tax accountancy means an in-depth look at tax rules and laws and understanding how to use these rules for a business or individual. Tax preparation, business tax accountant, government accountant, auditing
Public Accountancy Many students who specialize in public accounting are preparing to become CPAs. Public accounting covers a wide range of subjects, from personal taxes to corporate finance. Certified public accountant, corporate accountant
Fraud and Forensic Accounting A concentration in fraud and forensic accounting focuses on accounting and tax law and how it is broken. Students will take more classes on law than in other concentrations. Forensic accountant, accounting law expert, fraud detection specialist

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ACCOUNTING

Every program is slightly different than the other, but they will have students take a similar set of classes. Below is a sample curriculum of what you can expect.

  • Accounting: Accounting degree online programs will feature many courses that teach students about the theory and practical methods of accounting for various parties. Introductory to advanced courses will cover subjects such as bankruptcy, mergers, estates and trusts, payroll management, consignments, and business consolidation.
  • Business Law: This is an important course for students seeking a career in tax or forensic accounting. Business law underscores many accounting practices.
  • Auditing: Students earning online accounting degrees are usually required to take some courses in auditing. Particularly important for fraud detection accountants, auditing is an important way to insulate people and businesses from risk.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ACCOUNTING?

Many of the best online colleges for accounting offer accelerated, individually paced formats for working professionals. A bachelor's degree in accounting typically requires about 120 credits and takes about four years to complete. This includes general education requirements. There are a number of factors that can affect completion time, such as capstone work, academic terms organization, and whether class are taught asynchronously or synchronously. A major factor for an accounting degree online is the post-graduate exams that students take for certification.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Accounting Programs

When picking an online accounting degree, accreditation is one of the most important factors. When a school or program is accredited, it means that it has met a set of standards set by peer institutions, industry experts, and the government. Accreditation translates to a degree and education that is respected and legitimate.

Colleges and Universities can be accredited either nationally or regionally. Often, online schools are accredited nationally and traditional colleges and universities are regionally accredited. National accreditation is earned by agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is a nongovernmental organization made up of higher education leaders who set accreditation standards. Regional accreditation is earned by one of six agencies in the U.S. based on location. These agencies are recognized by CHEA and the Department of Education (DOE). The DOE does not accredit schools, but it works to oversee accreditation practices and set standards. Students can learn which schools are accredited from the DOE's or the CHEA's website.

Individual programs can also be accredited. Many accounting degree online programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). These industry-led organizations accredit business and accounting programs in schools around the U.S.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A BACHELOR'S IN ACCOUNTING PREPARES FOR

Gaining a degree from an accredited school or program is especially important for accounting students because of its necessity for certification. Certifications are a crucial step in the path to becoming an accountant. An undergraduate education is not enough for long-term accounting employment. To officially become a professional accountant and specialize in an area, graduates must pass exams and meet requirements from industry groups to gain certifications. Below are some of the most popular certifications.

  • Certified Public Accountant: The CPA is one of the most common certifications for accountants. It requires a sixteen hour test that covers business law, auditing practices, financial accounting and reporting, and taxation. This certification is a step toward gaining license in a state or district.
  • Certified Managerial Accountant: The CMA is administered by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. It includes courses on managerial accounting and tests a student's knowledge on the subject to determine professional ability.
  • Certified Fraud Examiner: The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners offers the CFE credential to students who can pass an exam and have two years of fraud detection experience. To maintain the credential, students must gain continuing education credits.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Accounting

Source: PayScale; Collected August 2015

Job Placement

Due to the steady demand for qualified and certified accountants, the employment outlook in this profession is strong. According to a recent report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 61% of accounting majors in 2013 had received at least one job offer by graduation. Only two majors reported higher job-offer rates: computer science and economics. U.S. News & World Report also notes that accountants face just a 3.2% unemployment rate; the national unemployment rate is currently estimated at 5.0%.

The table below compares unemployment rates among various professions listed in USNWR's 'Best Business Jobs' ranking.

Occupation Unemployment Rate (2016)
Accountant 3.2%
Statistician 4.0%
Operations Research Analyst 3.8%
Financial Advisor 3.3%
Mathematician 4.0%
Management Analyst 3.0%
Business Operations Manager 3.7%
Market Research Analyst 2.4%
Financial Analyst 2.2%

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Additionally, the BLS projects that the number of accounting jobs will rise by 142,400 positions (or roughly 11%) between 2014 and 2024.

Earning a Living

The BLS notes that accountants and auditors in the United States earn a median annual salary of $67,190 which is $32.30 per hour. However, your earning potential will depend on several factors, including your specific degree pathway and professional experience. Using data from the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, the table below looks at salary expectations for six different accounting majors at two key career stages.

Major Field of Study Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Accounting and Finance $52,800 $86,400
Financial Accounting $45,100 $82,000
Accounting (General) $48,300 $78,200
Accounting and Management $48,700 $70,800
Accounting and Business $45,200 $70,500
Business Administration and Accounting $44,900 $67,500

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

All six of the majors listed above experienced at least 45% salary growth after 10 years in the workforce. Financial accounting majors experienced the highest rate of growth -- 81.8% -- followed by accounting and finance majors at 63.6% and general accounting majors at 61.9%.

In addition to their major field of study, salary expectations for accountants also vary by specific job title. The next table explores career salary growth rates among five of the most common accounting career pathways.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) $52,908 $64,716 $75,839 $83,810
Staff Accountant $44,785 $48,433 $48,786 $49,754
Financial Controller $63,423 $74,386 $80,897 $81,200
Accounting Manager $54,946 $65,901 $66,650 $64,736
Senior Accountant $59,361 $63,047 $64,791 $64,734

Source: PayScale

Of the five professions listed above, CPAs experienced the highest career salary growth rate, an increase of roughly 58.4% between their first job and late-career.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

College graduates with a bachelor's degree in accounting will be qualified for dozens of jobs once they have completed the CPA requirements in their home state. The accounting and auditing profession is outlined below, along with three other common careers for accounting degree recipients.

Accountants and Auditors: Whether working for individual clients or a multinational organization, accountants are responsible for monitoring financial records and ensuring that their employer is compliant with all relevant tax laws. Auditors are accountants who specialize in analyzing financial data and recognizing patterns or discrepancies. Accountants and auditors typically work a more rigorous schedule than employees in other fields; according to the BLS, one in four works more than 40 hours per week.

Management Analysts: These analysts explore how companies and organizations can optimize their workflow, boost profits, and maximize efficiency. In order to achieve these goals, management analysts gather organizational data, interview personnel, and present their findings to executives and managers in different departments. Many analysts specialize in management subfields, such as supply chain management or financial accounting.

Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate: Appraisers and assessors evaluate homes, corporate buildings, and other properties to determine their value. According to the BLS, appraisals and assessments influence the way property is "sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed.” Appraisers working with federal transactions must become certified or licensed at the state level; assessors must also be certified in some states.

Budget Analysts: Budget analysts specialize in organizing and preparing financial records for companies and organizations with sizable budgets. First they review and approve their employer's budget proposals, and then work to actualize the goals of these proposals. More than 40% of the nation's budget analysts work for federal, state, or local government departments and agencies.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Accountants and Auditors $67,190 11% (+142,000 jobs)
Management Analysts $83,120 14% (+103,400 jobs)
Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate $51,860 8% (+6,800 jobs)
Budget Analysts $71,590 3% (+1,500 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in accounting often go on to pursue a master's degree. For more information about opportunities for grad students, please visit our Guide to Online MBA Programs.

Professional Organizations

Making connections and learning all you can about accounting is crucial to your professional success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for accounting professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • The American Accounting Association: Celebrating 100 years in 2016, the AAA is an international organization representing more than 7,000 members in dozens of countries. The association's website features a robust career center with a rotating pool of roughly 200 job openings from across the country, along with a peer-reviewed journal and links to professional development courses.
  • National Society of Accountants: The NSA strives to provide advocacy, continuing education opportunities, and ethical oversight for professional accountants throughout the nation. Members receive access to a range of accounting- and tax-related resources, along with discounts on webinar courses, conference entry fees, and other services.
  • American Institute of CPAs: Considered the world's largest professional organization for accounting professionals, the AICPA represents more than 400,000 members in 144 countries. The institute's website features study guides, practice exams, and other resources for bachelor's graduates who have yet to take their CPA exam, as well as a career center for certified job candidates.

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Accounting Program

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.